There have been 34,000 applications for more than 10,000 jobs as private security staff at the London 2012 Games, security firm G4S said today.
So far 20,000 of the G4S applications have been made by London-based residents and 4,500 roles have already been allocated.
The 23,700-strong security force that will be deployed for the Games is a mix of military, private security guards and at least 3,000 unpaid London 2012 volunteers who will be used at the start of the security process.
The military will provide 13,500 personnel, which is more than the 10,000 that were deployed to Afghanistan.
G4S staff will be paid from £8.50 an hour in what the company is billing as "the biggest paid recruitment drive of the century".
G4S opened the doors today to its recruitment centre in east London, a stone's throw away from the Olympic Park in Stratford.
Candidates will be asked to attend an interview at the recruitment centre, where they will go through a screening and vetting process before their application is submitted to London 2012 for accreditation.
The recruitment centre will also serve as a training facility, where new recruits will be put through their paces and provided with role-specific training to ensure they are fully prepared for the Games.
Would-be security staff will face a thorough screening, according to London 2012 chief executive Paul Deighton.
He said: "This is G4S's core business and they have rigorous processes. On top of that, we have an Olympic accreditation process with a series of checks so this is about as tough as it can possibly be."
Mark Hamilton, managing director of G4S security personnel, said the aim is for a "safe and secure" Games, adding: "In addition, our training will provide successful applicants with a professional security services qualification that will kick-start their careers in the sector post-2012.
"During the London Games, G4S employees will carry out a variety of tasks, including bag and vehicle searching."
The critical on-the-ground chain of command in the venues will handled for the day-to-day operations by London 2012's venue manager. There will also be a G4S chain of command for the private security and a military chain of command which will be coordinated.
Tasks will be divided into chunks so that, for example, a vehicle check area at the Olympic Park would be handled by the military alone while it is possible that a screening area at the mountain biking venue in Hadleigh in Essex may be a role for G4S staff.
Mr Deighton said: "If there is an incident, we switch to another protocol which hands management to the police. It is the normal incident event management control in the UK."
Anyone going to the Games will be able to spot the military security from what they are wearing, according to Mr Deighton, who rejected the idea that it could feel oppressive.
"You will know they are in the military," he said.
"Wimbledon is the example that I use. When you go to those places and see those guys, I think it is great. This is part of our country. They are part of our history and the way they will do the job will be in a very efficient and not intimidating way.
"I actually feel better about the fact that we have the military there... I think it may actually add to the spirit of the occasion."